Track down vintage goods with The Ritzy Rose's husband-and-wife team

Jen Diehl was mortified in junior high when her mom stopped at garage sales and tree-lawn giveaways. Then she noticed second-hand goods gave her an eclectic flair that spanned eras and styles-and she fell in love. "When you go to the mall, there are certain expectations of what you'll find," says Diehl, who crafts The Ritzy Rose's antique brooch bouquets and runs Etsy resale shop Vintage Diehls with husband Jason. "The cool thing about going to a flea market or going to garage sales all morning is that you don't know what to expect." Even so, the Diehls are pros at knowing what to look for. They talk through three favorite pieces and offer tips to land similar finds during your antiquing weekend or neighborhood garage sale. - John Ross

Quality stones and bride-friendly blues of these vintage brooches from the '20s and '30s caught Jen's eye at an Ohio State Fairgrounds sale. Soon she was asking the vendor about favorite pieces and buying dozens more. Instead of haggling, start a conversation, Jen says. "You can make a connection outside of exchanging money." Inquire about unique items or share pics of pieces in your home, and a seller might keep you in mind for similar items in the future.

Bored with fine art, Jason and Jen decorate with commercial materials-vintage tool pamphlets, faded signs and branded furniture like a Dow Chemical Co. shelf nabbed at favorite Pickerington antique shop 27 West & Co. Taking things out of context enlivens old items and sharpens a buyer's eye, Jason says, a good skill to develop when trying to stroll through an entire antique mall. The shelf holds kitchen gadgets. For another project , they're turning a windmill wheel into a headboard.

The Diehls frequented Ohio Theatre musicals while dating (Jason proposed on the stage), so Jen flipped when she saw this wooden 50th-anniversary plaque at Reynoldsburg's Heritage Square Antique Mall, home to a Vintage Diehls booth. Though reselling is their job, the couple picks items that fit their interests, history and aesthetic-and urge others to quit the search for hidden valuables. "You could search your whole life and not find that $1 garage-sale find that's worth $10,000," Jen says.